The entire police department in Bunker Hill, Indiana, resigned citing receiving illegal orders to do background checks on town official’s political opponents, lack of funding for vital resources, and general lack of communication between town leadership and the department. This week, the story took a new turn when former town council President Robert Cox formally requested the resignation of two council members due to “criminal arrest either personally or directly of a current spouse.”
It all began with former town marshal Michael Thomison calling the town council to task after council members asked the police department to conduct illegal criminal background checks on other members. Thomison also complained that members of the department were forced to share the one set of bulletproof body armor between all members of the department, although the town is legally obligated to issue one set per officer.
Additionally, after being diagnosed with cancer last year, Thomison went through treatment and tried to return to his job, but the department said they would only allow him to work part time in order to minimize healthcare insurance expenses. He blames the town councilors and plans to file a lawsuit against them. The town council fired back, issuing a statement refuting these claims.
The entire police department resigned in solidarity and, so far, the town has not had a single applicant for the position of town marshal.
Former town council President Robert Cox is firing back, saying that members of the council are allowing their personal dealings with law enforcement to impact the town’s safety.
“These council members have suffered direct arrest and/or felony convictions in the community,” said Cox, singling out council members Louis Nino and Carl Wade. “This is directly putting the safety and security of citizens in Bunker Hill at risk due to bias opinions of law enforcement.”
Nino was arrested on charges of intimidation and theft in February 2015 before entering into a pre-trial diversion program. Under the program, the charges were ultimately dismissed.
When asked if he would resign, Nino said, “That will happen when there’s a real Santa Claus,” adding “I’m not a chicken … I’m not going to sit here and take a pop-shot. What he said is true. I’m not denying that, nor do I want to.”
Wade’s wife, Patricia, was convicted of stealing more than $53,000 in funds designated for struggling families in Miami County and sentenced to two years of in-home detention and an additionally two years of probation. She was also convicted of stealing life insurance claims and sentenced to an additional two years of probation.
The town’s troubles garnered national media attention over the last couple weeks, culminating with the Bunker Hill Clerk Treasurer, Andrea Newnum saying that the town received about 100 emails and innumerable phone calls threatening the council. Newnum contacted the FBI over the threats.
Interestingly, the Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller, who is now in charge of patrolling the town until it is able to re-constitute a police force, noted that they have not had a noticeable increase in calls since the police department shut down.
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